How to Remove Grease Stains From Jeans

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Even when you're careful, it seems grease stains eventually catch up with you. From wiping greasy fingers on your jeans after you enjoy buttery popcorn to getting grease on your jeans while working in your shop, grease seems like one of the most difficult stains to tackle. The grease might not come out with a regular cycle through the washing machine, but you can use some items around the house to ease the grease out of your favorite denim.

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Why Grease Stains Are Difficult

Some stains seem to rinse right out with water if you catch them immediately, but grease stains don't simply wash away. That's because grease stains are lipids, which aren't water-soluble like some other stains. That means they require a degreaser or acid to dissolve the grease and remove the stains from your clothes. Jeans are made of durable material, so you can scrub them more, and you have more variety in the cleaners you can use to remove the grease.

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Tackling Grease Stains on Jeans

Start by tackling the grease stain as soon as you notice it before it has a chance to set into the denim fabric. Grab a dry paper towel to absorb as much of the grease as possible before trying any cleaners. Once you've absorbed as much oil as possible, try cleaners you have at home, such as:

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  • Baking soda:​ Sprinkle baking soda on the grease stain and wait 10 to 15 minutes while it soaks up the grease. Brush or scrape off the baking soda. Sprinkle on more if there's still grease on the jeans and repeat the process.

  • Dish detergent:​ Most dish soap is designed to break up grease, making it an easy solution for grease stains on jeans. Squeeze dish soap onto the stain, work it in with your fingers, and wait five to 10 minutes. Scrub it with a toothbrush and wait another five to 10 minutes before rinsing in hot water.

  • Hair spray:​ The same stuff that holds your signature hairstyle can also help remove grease stains from clothes. Spray hair spray onto the grease stain to saturate it. You can put a piece of cardboard inside the jeans to keep the grease and hair spray from soaking through to the other side. Wait 20 to 30 minutes before washing the jeans.

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Wash the Jeans

Once you think you've removed the grease stain, wash your jeans as normal with detergent in your washing machine. Use the hottest water setting recommended for the jeans based on the care label. You can also hand-wash them or rinse them well after using the selected cleaner.

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Air-Dry and Repeat

It can be difficult to see a grease stain on jeans once the material is wet, so you might not be able to tell right away if your grease-removal efforts worked. Let the jeans air-dry before inspecting them to determine if the grease stain is gone. If you toss them in the clothes dryer, the heat can set the grease stain and make it very difficult to remove. Try a different stain-removal method or repeat previous attempts if the grease mark is still visible after the jeans air-dry.

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